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Navajo Nation chapter government officials to take oath of office in virtual inauguration

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Voters review the sample ballot for Tooh Haltsooí Chapter in Sheep Springs during the Navajo Nation Chapter General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. Inauguration Day is set for Jan. 6, with a ceremony held via the Zoom meeting platform.

GALLUP — The Navajo Election Administration and the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors have set Jan. 6 as inauguration day for chapter governments and other offices.

The swearing-in ceremony will be a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, and to comply with public health emergency orders.

Individuals elected for the offices of chapter president, vice president and secretary-treasurer and for alternative forms of government and membership on grazing committees, farm boards, land boards, the election board and the Kayenta Township Commission will take the oath of office.

Rodriquez Morris, interim executive director of the election administration, told the election board on Dec. 30 that there are 386 individuals ready to be sworn into office.

He said because chapter houses are closed to the public under public health emergency orders by the Navajo Department of Health, the procedure will take place remotely and via the videoconference platform Zoom.

"The chapter houses are on limited operation schedule. They are not, basically, having any type of meetings or services at this point in time," Morris said.

Voters wait to enter the Shiprock Chapter house so they can vote on local candidates in the Navajo Nation Chapter General Election on Nov. 3, 2020.

The plan for inauguration day was altered this year to have the elected officials participate by telephone and with assistance from agencies like the Office of the Speaker, Navajo Nation Judicial Branch and Division of Community Development, he added.

MORE:Long lines, coronavirus restrictions didn't deter Election Day enthusiasm on Navajo Nation

According to information the election administration issued on Dec. 31, the oath of office will be administered in two separate calls, the first will be at 10 a.m. followed by the second at noon.

The elected officials can find the information to participate on the election administration website, navajoelections.navajo-nsn.gov, and Navajo Election Administration Facebook page as well as the websites for the tribe's legislative branch and the president's office.

The election board certified the results of the Nov. 3 general election during a regular meeting on Dec. 30.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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